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Light pollution is also a factor. you should choose a location that is as far as possible from light sources such as street lamps. If you cannot remove yourself from the area of bright lights you should try to choose a location that places a tree or a building between you and the lights. This acts as a screen. Sky conditions in the suburbs or country will inevitably be better because there will be much less light pollution.


Book of Stargazing

Go to the Table of Contents for this booklet

Tips and Hints for Star Gazers

There are three important factors to consider before you begin star gazing.

1- Weather Conditions

2- Personal Comfort

3 Equipment and accessories

Weather conditions are of course extremely important. The night sky must be free of clouds and disturbances. The phase of the moon is also a factor. If the moon is full or near full it will wash out a good portion of the sky making is impossible to see most of the stars. Only a few of the brightest stars will be available to see.

So unless you are observing the moon itself you should do your stargazing only when there is no moon or just a small sliver of moon illuminated.


Your Personal comfort

Your personal comfort is extremely important when star gazing. In the winter months you should dress extremely warm and bring along warm drinks in a thermos. Lounge chairs that recline are also recommended to avoid standing and craning your neck for long periods of time,. You can even lay a blanket down on the ground if you desire.

And you should take care to protect your eyes from any bright lights. You have to wait several minutes in the dark so your eyes can adjust as your pupils slowly open up to receive a maximum amount of light. You can help this by closing your eyes for several minutes. If you should look toward a bright light such as from a street light or a car your night vision will be ruined and you will have to wait several more minutes for them to re-adjust.

Accessories And equipment

Be sure to bring along your star maps. And in order to read them easily in the dark you may want to bring along a flashlight. You should first prepare the flashlight by covering the lens with red cellophane or any other type of transparent red material. The bright white light of a flashlight can ruin your night vision so always cover your flashlight.

You will need to determine which direction is north. If you do not already know which way is north you can bring along a compass or road map. If you do not have any of these options you should be able to find north simply by using the constellations just like the ancient sailors did.

Checklist for Star gazing:

  • Is the sky clear and cloud free?
  • Have you found a dark spot shielded from bright lights?
  • Are you dressed appropriately for the weather?
  • Do you have your star maps and accessories?
  • Is your flashlight lens covered with a red material?
  • Will you bring lounge chairs or blankets?

NextContinue on to Stars and Constellations

Astronomy and telescope related books & products

Star Wheel

Night Sky Star Wheel





Make a telescope kit

Refractor Telescope Kit

Build-It Yourself! -- It?s so easy, now even an eight-year-old can build an 18" long, 3X refractor telescope in less than an hour. -- Includes objective lens, eye lens, glare stops, kraftboard tubes, instructions and an Edmund Star and Planet Locator. Finished product is powerful enough to show moon craters, Jupiter?s moons and many stars not visible to the naked eye. -- For ages 8 and up. --

Astronomy for Kids

Janice VanCleave's Astronomy for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work (Science for Every Kid Series)

Why do planets spin? How hot is the Sun? What keeps the Moon in orbit around the Earth? What are Saturn's rings made of? What's a black hole in space? Now you can discover the answers to these and other fascinating questions about basic astronomy. In Astronomy for Every Kid you'll learn about the constellations using a shoe box planetarium. You'll chart the movement of the stars with nothing but a string, a marker, and a nail. And you'll use a toy magnet to simulate the Earth's protective force field. Each of the 101 experiments is broken down into its purpose, a list of materials, step-by-step instructions, expected results, and an easy to understand explanation. Every activity has been pretested and can be performed safely and inexpensively in the classroom or at home. Also available in this series from Janice VanCleave: Biology for Every Kid Chemistry for Every Kid Dinosaurs for Every Kid Earth Science for Every Kid Geography for Every Kid Geometry for Every Kid The Human Body for Every Kid Math for Every Kid Physics for Every Kid

The Night Sky

A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find Them in the Sky

Children eight and up will enjoy this conversational but information-packed introduction to astronomy and stargazing, which includes the achievements of the great scientists, the history of space exploration, the story of our solar system, the myths behind the constellations, and how to navigate the night sky. Whimsical color illustrations on every page and handy definitions and sidebars help engage younger readers and develop their interest. The special star wheel helps locate stars and planets from any location at any time of year. This is the third in Black Dog & Leventhal's successful series including The Story of the Orchestra and A Child's Introduction to Poetry.